Optimizing your WooCommerce Store for the Holiday Season

The 2021 holiday season promises to be the biggest retail period ever. Is your WooCommerce site as ready as it should be? We've put together a wish list of the WooCommerce store essentials that will ensure you'll be toasting your success in the new year.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for online shopping as sales and celebrations stack up before the end of the year, but is your WooCommerce store as ready as it should be?

Seasonal spending and online revenue over the holiday season has risen year on year with online purchases exploding by a further 34% during 2020 as the pandemic encouraged more shoppers online. Christmas 2021 promises to be another bumper year. So it’s essential to make sure your WooCommerce store isn’t just doing good business, but great business.

Optimizing your online store can be a complicated process with lots of options. Creating Christmas marketing. Having sales and advertising. Product delivery estimates for holiday shopping. Making sure your site can handle the increased traffic. Increasing sales conversions. And on it goes.

We have plenty of articles to help you get the most out of WordPress and your WooCommerce store, but it’s the busy season. So we’ve put together a Christmas list of the best products and solutions to ensure your store is a holiday shopping success.

Plugin

Best for

A comprehensive hosting option for almost any WooCommerce store.

Sites looking for all-in-one security that isn’t complicated and won’t slow performance.

Websites looking to expand their customer base and grow their sales funnel.

Store owners who are active on social media or trying to increase traffic.

Those looking for an all-in-one WordPress builder or an extensive bundle of useful features.

Stores with lots of products looking to increase sales conversion.

Stores looking to guarantee income and find new customers via referral.

Stores looking to build brand loyalty and increase revenue over the holidays.

Stores selling physical products and especially in-demand items.

Stores trying to increase their revenue and sales simply and effectively.

WooCommerce stores looking to increase order value or expand product options.

Stores looking to increase order value and bring customers back after the holiday sales season.

Stores trying to increase sales conversions and expecting high traffic during the holiday season.

Everyone. Offering reliable, trusted payment options is essential to any WooCommerce store.

Built To Handle The Holiday Season

All the smart Christmas marketing and sales promotions won’t matter if your site and store don’t work like it’s supposed to. People shop online to avoid the lines, so you don’t want them waiting for your busy site to load. Your store going down during the most profitable shopping period of the year would be a disaster. And increased activity can mean increased threats, so security is even more important than usual.

That’s why it’s essential to get the basics right and make sure your store is starting from a strong foundation. To help we’ve included some of the best options for hosting, speed, and security below.

WP Engine

Image courtesy of www.wpengine.com

WP Engine provides everything you’d want from great WordPress hosting. A reliable foundation for your store. Easy site migration. WooCommerce optimization. Strong security features. All while offering a 40% improvement in site speed on average so that your customers won’t have to wait around or look elsewhere. If you’re building an online store from scratch or looking for an overall upgrade, this is a great place to start.

We recently spoke to David Vogelpohl on the WP Mayor Podcast. We discussed how site speed affects sales, the SEO implications of Google’s new Core Web Vitals, and more. It’s worth a listen if you want to dive a little deeper.

Key Features:

  • Easy site migration can be as simple as a single click.
  • Drag and drop site building with a suite of free themes.
  • Strong security options protect your site & your customers’ data.
  • 40% average improvement in site speed that benefits both your customers and your site SEO.

Pricing: eCommerce Solutions tier starts at $24 per month.

4 months off
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Best For: A comprehensive hosting option for almost any WooCommerce store.

MalCare

MalCare

MalCare offers a suite of security solutions that are perfect for protecting your site and your customer’s details during the busy holiday season and all year round. Feature-rich and focused on preserving site speed it’s a great all-in-one for peace of mind.

Their malware scanner plugin does all the work on their servers so that it won’t affect your site’s performance. They guarantee malware removal within 5 minutes before it does more damage or gets your page blacklisted by search engines. And their high-performance firewall protects your WooCommerce store from bot buyers, hackers, and protects your customers from login attempts with improved captcha protection.

You can read about how MalCare compared to other leading security solutions in our comparison test.

Key Features:

  • Advanced and accurate scanning finds potential threats without false flags that cost customers.
  • Malware can be removed with one click and in under 5 minutes before more damage is done.
  • A high performance firewall helps protect your site from bots and customers from false login attempts.
  • Firewalls and other security features have instant and easy set-up without the need for manual configuration.

Pricing: Protection starts at $99 per year for the scanner, malware cleanups, and firewall.

Best For: Sites looking for all-in-one security that isn’t complicated and won’t slow performance.

Attracting and Talking to Your Customers

The holiday season means more customers. That’s the good news, but it also means a lot more competition. You’re probably already seeing holiday marketing and season sales everywhere. That’s why it’s important to go the extra mile to bring customers to your WooCommerce store.

That might mean trying to attract more international customers with easy translation options. Sending Christmas marketing or reminders about sales to current customers. Or developing new sales leads by promoting your WooCommerce store on social media. And we’ve picked some of our favorite ways to do that below.

Weglot

Image courtesy of www.weglot.com

There are an estimated 2 billion online shoppers out there and if your WooCommerce store doesn’t speak their language then it’s unlikely they’ll buy from you. 40% of online shoppers won’t buy from a website that isn’t in their first language at all. And 72% say they’re more likely to buy if your site has an option for their first language. That’s a lot of potential sales to miss.

Weglot lets you easily translate your site and store to one of over 100 different languages. It doesn’t duplicate your store and is built for performance so it won’t slow it down either. It does all the hard work with automatic content detection and translation, but if you want more control there are tools for custom translations. Better yet, it’s SEO-friendly in every language.

We wrote a detailed review recently and were very impressed. We also spoke with Weglot’s Augustin Prot on the WP Mayor Podcast.

Key Features:

  • Over 100 languages built-in and the ability to work with your own translators if you prefer.
  • Auto-detects content, meaning that even text from third party sources is translated.
  • Site performance and SEO optimized in any language.
  • No code install required, just add it to your site in minutes.

Pricing: Starts at $99 per year, with a free trial also available.

Best For: Websites looking to expand their customer base and grow their sales funnel.

Spotlight PRO

Image courtesy of www.spotlightwp.com

Spotlight PRO is a fantastic way to use social media, in this case, Instagram, to boost the profile of your WooCommerce store and attract new customers. As the fourth biggest social media platform and perhaps the best suited to product marketing, Instagram is a great place to promote your store. A picture is worth a thousand words after all and the benefits don’t stop there.

Say goodbye to Instagram’s annoying limitations and the need for people to sign up to view your content. Spotlight PRO lets you create shoppable Instagram feeds linked WooCommerce store. You can direct traffic to your store or site to increase your SEO with a ‘link in bio’ solution. It even allows you to embed an Instagram gallery to display new testimonials from happy customers.

It can be especially useful if you’re selling digital products.

Key Features:

  • Beautiful templates and layouts can be customized with just a few clicks.
  • Create shoppable Instagram feeds that drive traffic to your WooCommerce store.
  • Show off your products to potential customers without them having to have an Instagram account.
  • Display constantly updating customer testimonials with the option of complete control over which posts appear.

Pricing: Starts at $49 a year for one site with all features.

Best For: Store owners who are active on social media or trying to increase traffic.

Looking Your Best for Sales Success

Your WooCommerce store is built on a strong foundation. You’re promoting your products on social media and keeping customers up to date with your holiday sales. But your conversion rate from visitors to customers isn’t as high as it could be. So how do you turn window shoppers into happy holiday customers?

Think of your website or store homepage like a shop window. It should be vibrant, inviting, and promising great deals to be had on amazing products. And even if it already is, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they want and buy it before they look somewhere else. That’s why we’ve included some of the best ways to do that below.

Elementor Popup Builder

Image courtesy of Elementor

Elementor is already one of the best, simplest, and feature-rich ways to build a website of any kind. There’s a reason they’ve got over 8 million users and are the number one web creation platform for WordPress. There are hundreds of them, including the many features that make it perfect for eCommerce in general or your WooCommerce store. One of the best though is their new and improved Popup Builder.

Popups have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but they remain one of the best ways to entice visitors to your store with sales, special offers, and more. The Popup Builder lets you customize timings and triggers while creating beautiful popups that attract instead of annoy. Promote offers. Generate sales leads. Sign-up newsletter subscribers. You can even offer visitors something tempting before they leave.

Key Features:

  • Make beautiful popups with simple design tools and no need to code.
  • Created precisely targeted popups so customers only see what’s relevant to them.
  • Deliver popups that engage instead of annoy with precise timing and context to make more sales.
  • Add custom forms easily to get customer feedback, generate sales leads, or gain subscribers for future offers.

Pricing: Starting at $49 per year, Elementor Pro includes Popup Builder and over 90 other features.

Best For: Those looking for an all-in-one WordPress builder or an extensive bundle of useful features.

Iconic Quickview

Image courtesy of www.iconicwp.com/products/woocommerce-quickview/

Iconic’s WooCommerce Quickview lets you add product lightboxes to your store for easier browsing and buying. Your visitors time is valuable, especially during the busy holiday season. So why not speed up the process for them? They don’t need any more open tabs or to navigate back and forwards between pages. Instead, they can just snap up those bargains and add them to their cart in seconds.

An attractive, customized product lightbox allows customers to preview items, add them to their cart, and more. All without having to load a new page. They can even browse through other products within the lightbox. Less clicks, less effort, easier purchasing. Plus, our recent hands-on found it was as easy to set up as it is to use.

Key Features:

  • Speed up customer purchases without slowing site performance.
  • Dynamic design looks great on all screen sizes including mobile.
  • Designed for WooCommerce and compatible with all well-coded themes.
  • Fully customize everything from button design to what shows in the modal window.

Pricing: $49 per year with a free trial available.

Best For: Stores with lots of products looking to increase sales conversion.

Holiday Season Essentials

Some online shopping features are useful all year round but become essential during the busy holiday season. There are seasonal sales, time-sensitive holiday shopping, and delivery deadlines.

With only so many days left in the year, anything you can do to make the season easier for your customers is going to give you a competitive edge and customer good cheer. With these WooCommerce plugins, it’s simple to wrap a customer’s gift, reassure them their parcel will make it on time, and more.

YITH Gift Cards

Image courtesy of www.yithemes.com/themes/plugins/yith-woocommerce-gift-cards/

YITH Gift Cards make it easy for your customers to find something for friends or relatives that are hard to buy for. Better still, gift cards are one of the best ways to guarantee income and create new customers over the holiday season. Your current customers don’t have to make a tough choice with a gift card. They have one less gift-getting headache. And you just turned one customer into two.

Beyond just offering digital or physical gift cards, why not offer subscribers a one-time discount card to bring them back to your WooCommerce store? Or allow customers to share specific products they know their friends will love with an attached gift card? YITH Gift Cards makes it simple.

Key Features:

  • Increase sales and create new customers with digital and physical gift cars.
  • Choose from a library of themed gift card designs or create your own custom cards.
  • Add the option for visitors to suggest or even gift a product to their friends and family.
  • Integration with WC Smart Coupons allows you to convert store credit or coupons to gift cards.

Pricing: Starts at $129 per year with a limited free version available.

Best For: Stores looking to guarantee income and find new customers via referral.

Gift Wrapper

Image courtesy of www.woocommerce.com/products/gift-wrapper-for-woocommerce/

Gift Wrapper for WooCommerce is the simple way to add a gift-wrapping service to your online store. Save your customers time and effort by wrapping their gifts for them during the busy holiday season or all year round. With an effortless gift wrap option, you add revenue to each purchase and make your customers’ lives easier.

Not only that but whoever receives your gift knows where it came from and sees your branding, creating new potential customers. When customers can buy, wrap, and send personalized messages with each product they can do all of their gift shopping in one place.

Key Features:

  • Add optional gift wrapping and personalized messages to your products.
  • Simple to set-up and saves your customers time.
  • Create unlimited gift wrapping options each with its own pricing.
  • Customers can add gift wrapping to a product in one click or wrap a whole order at checkout.

Pricing: $49 per year with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best For: Stores looking to build brand loyalty and increase revenue over the holidays.

WooCommerce Lead Time

Image courtesy of www.barn2.com/wordpress-plugins/woocommerce-lead-time/

The holiday season is a high-demand and time-sensitive retail period. Then there’s the extra pressure on supply lines and delivery services during the 2021 holiday season with the continued impact of COVID-19. Keeping your customers informed of expected delivery and restock dates is now the difference between a sale and a lost customer or refund. But WooCommerce doesn’t have a lead time function.

Barn2’s WooCommerce Lead Time plugin solves that problem. Give your customers the essential information they need on delivery dates and out-of-stock items. Remove the guesswork and worry from their holiday shop. And make sure they come to you for in-demand items when they are back in stock. Our handy how-to can even guide you through the process.

Key Features:

  • Give your customers peace of mind and reduce lead time queries.
  • Bring customers back to your store with information on product restocks.
  • Add lead time information to product pages, carts, checkout, and even emails.
  • Calculate dynamic lead times automatically for individual items or universally across your store.

Pricing: Starts at $49 per year for a single store.

Best For: Stores selling physical products and especially in-demand items.

Increasing Order Values and Making More Sales

Busy shopping periods like the holiday season can bring a lot of one-time one-item customers to your WooCommerce store. When deals end at midnight and people have the rest of their Christmas shopping to do they often don’t spend time browsing.

Thankfully there are plenty of ways to increase order values and offer customers more of what they want in just a few clicks. Recommended products, bundles with discounts, and an optimized sales funnel can transform a store. And we’ve got just the tools for the job below.

Iconic Sales Booster

Image courtesy of www.iconicwp.com/products/sales-booster-for-woocommerce

Iconic’s Sales Booster is a plugin designed to promote cross-selling and up-selling across your store. From Amazon to your favorite store, you’ll recognize suggestions of recommended and similar products. Most big online retailers use that system simply because it works. And now you can too.

You control which products are shown and when. Add them to a product page, the cart, or at checkout. Entice your customers into an additional purchase by offering a special offer or one-time discount. Your customers find more of what they love on your WooCommerce store and you increase your revenue.

We even have a guide to get you started.

Key Features:

  • Add suggestions for other products to increase cross-selling.
  • Choose when and where up-selling suggestions appear in the process.
  • Offer one-time discounts or special prices on items when bought together.
  • Great compatibility means it works with any theme, payment gateway, and even translation tools.

Pricing: $129 per year.

Best For: Stores trying to increase their revenue and sales simply and effectively.

Iconic Bundled Products

Image courtesy of www.iconicwp.com/products/woocommerce-bundled-products

Recommending related products is great for cross-selling, but sometimes it pays to bundle products together. That’s where Iconic’s Bundled Products plugin shows its value as we found in a recent comparison. Simple one-click additional purchases boost your revenue and speed up the shopping process during the busy holiday season.

Offer your customers discounts if they buy multiples of an item. Save them time and money by bundling accessories with your products. And show them exactly how much they’re saving by buying products together.

Key Features:

  • Increase your average order value by up-selling bundles.
  • Offer tempting discounts for buying multiple products or accessories.
  • Bundles work for any type of product – simple, variable, and even digital.
  • Simple interfaces and one-click additions make adding a bundle effortless for customers.

Pricing: $49 per year with a free trial available.

Best For: WooCommerce stores looking to increase order value or expand product options.

WooFunnels

Image courtesy of www.buildwoofunnels.com

WooFunnels is one of the best ways to improve your sales funnel, increase order values, and create return customers. A strong sales funnel is often the difference between ‘just browsing’ and loyal customers. Getting it just right can be complex, but WooFunnels makes it simple for every step of the process as we found in our comparison.

Tried and tested pre-built sales pages and checkout templates mean you don’t need to be a designer to create enticing offers. Targeted up-selling ensures customers only see the most relevant offer to them when they’re most likely to buy. Follow-up email marketing brings customers back for more. And live testing and detailed analytics take the guesswork out of optimizing your WooCommerce store.

Key Features:

  • Fantastic opt-in and sales pages with checkout pages optimized for sales conversion.
  • Targeted one-click up-selling offers based on the rules and timings you set.
  • Test different headlines, discount levels, and more to see what’s most effective.
  • Create customer profiles with detailed analytics and follow up to bring customers back to your store.

Pricing: Starts from $179 per year.

Best For: Stores looking to increase order value and bring customers back after the holiday sales season.

Convert Browsing into Buying

Despite all the increased traffic around the holiday season not every visitor to your WooCommerce store is going to be a customer. They might be checking stock for in-demand items or doing price comparisons. They may even intend to buy but get sidetracked when trying to cram in the last of their Christmas shopping into a few free minutes.

That’s why it’s essential to make buying from your store as simple, quick, and hassle-free as possible. So we have found the plugins and products that help you do just that. Plus some solutions for retaining customers after the holiday season and sales rush.

WooCommerce Fast Cart

Image courtesy of www.barn2.com/wordpress-plugins/woocommerce-fast-cart

Barn2’s WooCommerce Fast Cart is the quick and effective way to get customers buying instead of browsing. You can popup cart and checkout pages anywhere on your site and cut down lengthy checkout processes.

Time is short when a customer is doing all their Christmas shopping at once. Long checkout processes, especially for customers visiting multiple sites, can be frustrating and lead to lost sales. But speeding up that process with one-click carts and quick checkouts makes all the difference.

Key Features:

  • Replace multi-page checkouts with quick popup carts and checkouts anywhere.
  • Customize your popup cart to match your theme and control when and where it appears.
  • Increase order value by cross-selling recommended products within the popup cart.
  • Compatible with all popular payment gateways and built to keep site performance high.

Pricing: Starts from $59 per year.

Best For: Stores trying to increase sales conversions and expecting high traffic during the holiday season.

More Ways To Pay

Image courtesy of www.woocommerce.com/product-category/woocommerce-extensions/payment-gateways

With more customers comes more payment preferences. Perhaps you’re seeing international sales as customers search for the best prices during the Christmas period? Or maybe you want to give your customers the option to spread the cost of big-ticket items or their holiday shopping with payments in installments?

Thankfully WooCommerce’s Payment Gateway Extensions cover just about every popular option and payment service available. You probably don’t need them all, but giving customers more ways to pay avoids losing sales and can encourage customers to spend more and spread the cost.

Key Features:

  • Almost all popular payment portals are available for WooCommerce.
  • Take more international orders without forcing customers to pay your way.
  • Allow customers to spend more by spreading the cost over installment plans.
  • Protect your site and reassure customers with payment services they know and trust.

Pricing: Setup and transaction fees vary by payment gateway.

Best For: Everyone. Offering reliable, trusted payment options is essential to any WooCommerce store.

Ready for the Holiday Rush

That’s it. You’ve made it to the end of our holiday wish list of WooCommerce optimization options. Congratulations! It’s unlikely you’ve needed them all, but with all your holiday season and sales needs covered you can expect a fantastic year for your store.

So good luck, happy holidays, and here’s to your success!

Matthew Wood
Matthew Wood
As an independent copywriter I've written for everyone from underground zines to top tech brands from amid a pile of cups of tea & biscuits, hidden away on the wild North East England coast.

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